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Perceptions of therapeutic principles in a therapeutic community

Capone, Georgina; Braham, Louise; Schroder, Thomas; Moghaddam, Nima


Georgina Capone

Louise Braham

Professor of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Therapies

Nima Moghaddam


Purpose: This study aimed to explore staff and service users’ perceptions of therapeutic principles within a unique male high secure learning disability therapeutic community (LDTC).
Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative approach was adopted using deductive content analysis and inductive thematic analysis. Twelve participants took part in a semi-structured interview to explore their perceptions of Haigh’s (2013) quintessence principles and any further additional therapeutic features in the environment not captured by the theory.
Findings: All five quintessence principles were identified in the LDTC environment. Some limits to the principle of ‘agency’ were highlighted, with specific reference to difficulties implementing a flattened hierarchy in a forensic setting. Additional therapeutic features were identified including; security and risk, responsivity, and more physical freedom which appear to aid implementation of the quintessence principles.
Research limitations/implications: The study was performed within a single case study design. Therefore results remain specific to this LDTC. However, the finding of these principles in such a unique setting may indicate Haigh’s (2013) quintessence principles are evident in other TC environments.
Originality/value: This is the first research paper that has attempted to test whether Haigh’s (2013) quintessence principles are evident within a given therapeutic community. The research provides empirical evidence for the quintessence principles in a novel TC setting and suggests recommendations for future research.


Capone, G., Braham, L., Schroder, T., & Moghaddam, N. (2017). Perceptions of therapeutic principles in a therapeutic community. Therapeutic Communities, 38(2),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 8, 2017
Publication Date May 30, 2017
Deposit Date May 31, 2017
Publicly Available Date May 31, 2017
Journal Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities
Electronic ISSN 0964-1866
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 2
Public URL
Publisher URL


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